‘Sinister’ frightens audience

FEARING THE NIGHT—Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance), comfort their son Trevor after a night terror. Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment

By Sergio Berrueta

“Sinister” combines popular horror film genres to create a frightful, yet very predictable film.

It seems the movie industry gets a new found footage every year around this time, replacing the classic spook house thrillers of yesteryear.

“Sinister” tells the story of down-and-out writer Ellison Oswalt, played by Ethan Hawke, who moves his entire family to a house where a murder and missing children’s case took place, for inspiration for a comeback novel.

While moving in boxes, Oswalt comes across a box of old home movies and begins to investigate the movies. Oswalt soon discovers the films are the murders of the missing children’s family that seem to be connected by the supernatural Pagan child-eating deity known as Bagul.  Soon the terror begins to takeover the house and his life.

The problem with “Sinister,” besides the interesting premise, is that it executes much of the same idea the audience has seen before in much better features.

The scares are the obvious standbys and lead to predictability.  The average viewer can figure out the film’s ending in the middle of the second act.

A majority of the scary scenes and twists have been spoiled due to the marketing campaign, which will leave viewers wanting more.

“Sinister” does succeed in capturing the performance of Ethan Hawke and creates an eerie mood and atmosphere.

Hawke plays Oswalt with such frailty and determination.  The audience can buy his struggle as he makes his comeback in-between the madness that is slowly appearing.  The best moment is when he is watching the gruesome home videos with a look of pure terror on his face.

The atmosphere around the film is dark, thanks to the score, which gives a subtle haunting tone, similar to the classic scores of John Carpenter.

The found home movies Oswalt views are another saving grace, providing true terror and gore that are cross-borderline snuff film territory, which might be a bit too much for the squeamish and easily frightened.

With its simplicity in the actor’s performances and strong mood in the atmosphere, “Sinister” is a good movie to watch.  Unfortunately “Sinister” is weighed down due to its predictability in plot.  Sinister is rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror.

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